Good people, crashes of music giants are always the stuff of good news. Ignore the petty battles called ‘beef’ in flashy hip-hop lingo.
The battle at hand ought to keep every lover of Malawian music salivating. It’s a tale of two albums from two competing music stables coming our way in quick succession next week. For now, the protagonists are Chileka reggae giants Black Missionaries and the moderniser of Balaka beat Lucius Banda.
Reading the news, I cannot wait to get a taste of the newest beats from both sides of the music divide. Over the years, the two camps have come under fire for churning out half baked offerings that leave both buyers and reviewers crying for better days, the good ole days.
Just like that, releases that are supposed to be catalytic of a scramble for the best of Malawian music has become a cause for worry.
But that is news of days gone and buried. Bygones are bygones. We are already looking at what lies ahead.
I am hearing the release of Blacks Kuimba 10 is scheduled for next week, almost the same time Lucius’ Thank You is expected to go public.
When two elephants fight, it is grass that suffers. Some feel the Lucius vs Blacks race to the shelves will leave music lovers confused and the artists hardly getting the numbers they deserve.
In the civilised world, musicians are contented being what they are—musicians, not sellers of their own wares.
In such contexts, the likes of Blacks and Lucius engage credible labels and managers to take care of off-stage issues like deciding when to release an album or not to.
But this is Malawi. Musicians are everything they choose to be. So, I can only say: Bring it on!
Yes, let the competition begin.
In liberalised markets, competition is inevitable and it tends to benefit the consumer.
For years, a chicken-egg debate has been lingering on who is greater between Blacks and Soldier Lucius.
Such is the competition involving the band and the self-styled soldier of the poor that it may be likened to the battle of honours involving Barcelona Football Club ace Lionel Messi and his Real Madrid counterpart Christiano Ronaldo.
The meeting of the latest productions of Lucius and Blacks is a rare opportunity to settle the debate. It is that time again we get to know who sells more, who gets a greater share of airplay, who gets the louder sing-alongs. Figures don’t lie and that is the greatest lesson from November 2011 when the release of the Blacks’ Kuimba 8 coincided with Skeffa Chimoto’s Ndife Amodzi. The competition wasn’t too close to call. Skeffa got the lions share. So let the battle begin.
On the beat
Talking about artists as voices of the voiceless members of their society, Phungu Joseph Nkasa is back on song with the track Anenelewhich speaks for vulnerable men and women with guns, buttons, teargas canisters, armoured vehicles and more.
Ignore MoseWalero, Namulenga, Anasankha Olakwika and all that political jazz.
This time, the one-time bestselling musician takes the mic to amplify the unsung song focusing on the overwhelming plight of police officers whose standing and ratings in our society has become underwhelming due to increasing involvement of a thuggish few in robbing the citizens they are supposed to safeguard.
When enforcers of law and order become criminals, it’s not just another story of a hunter becoming hunted. It’s a public concern, for it puts into question an entire sector charged with the noble duty of enforcing safeguarding lives and property.
This is a hasty generalisation, isn’t it?
But it is refreshing to see the likes of Nkasa stand aside and sing real life problems plaguing a people deployed to carry out a duty that seems to be very close to every Malawian’s heart.
The majority of commentators sound enthused when it comes to censuring the police as armed hardcore criminals in state uniform.
Only if the nation invested as much energy in alleviating police officers’ deep-rooted concerns.
Public anger is not just a symbol of innate insubordination to wrongdoing. It must signal the beginning of necessary action to close the decried gaps.